Suwannee County still recovering from Irma, thousands without power

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 14, 2017

A contract crew assisting City Utilities works to restore power Saturday.

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) -- Power crews are in overdrive trying to restore services for thousands of people in Suwannee County.

In the meantime, families are living without anything to keep themselves or their food cool.

Some are cleaning up major damage to their homes.

A huge oak tree fell in Linda and Lorenzo French's yard. They say they didn't hear it, but they could surely see it once they woke up.

Lorenzo French said, "It was a blessing it didn't fall and hit the house or the neighbor's house and stuff like that. We were blessed in that aspect."

The huge oak tree fell some time between Sunday night and early Monday morning in the midst of Tropical Storm Irma.

The massive trunk uprooted, split, and crashed in separate directions across the yard.

It trapped anyone from getting in or out through the driveway.

The tree also fell on power lines.

Irma also caused utility poles to snap and lines to break.

Live Oak resident Ernestine Fleming said, "Everybody on this side without power that doesn't have a generator, has lost food in their freezers, their refrigerators. We haven't had the luxury of electricity."

Power for many has been out since Sunday.

Crews seemed visible on almost every corner trying to get the lights back on.

The issue for some areas is clearing the downed trees and debris off the power lines.

"We appreciate all the effort that everyone is doing to get it to us as quickly as possible. But, y'all, hurry if you can, please," Fleming said.

The county is providing free water and ice. Residents can drive up to the Emergency Operations Center at the Douglas Center on Ontario Avenue in Live Oak, or the Branford Town Hall.

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